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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
Sugar Rush: Waffles & Pancakes in Dokki
On a neat and pretty square on Al Zaharaa Street in Dokki, sits Sugar Rush. Children play in the street and kittens frolic in the grass, and on a fine sunny Cairo afternoon, the temptations of this house of waffles, cupcakes, ice cream and crepes draw in many a sweet-toothed customer. But once inside, Sugar Rush cranks it up a notch, rocking an urban design which is far from sweet. 'Angry Birds' and images of 'youth culture' are spray-painted on all the walls, bringing a little bit of 'the streets' into this quiet Dokki suburb.
The menu is simple: they offer waffles and crepes with sweet or savory toppings, as well as a chocolate or cheese fondues. However, the choices narrowed when it transpired that Sugar Rush's cupboards were even sparser than their menu. We were eager to try a fondue but were disappointed to find that none was available. We were instead teased with the promise of chocolate fondues in white, milk and dark for 30LE or 70LE, or a Swiss cheese fondue for 55LE.
We attempted to select a few toppings for our waffle, but were forced to settle for our third choice of Ferrero Rocher (24LE). The waffle was doughy and dry, despite the lashings of chocolate and sugary toppings that it languished under. Half way through the snack we suffered a carb overload, which cancelled out the gluttonous sugar hit we were hoping for. On top of the thick waffle, several Ferrero Rocher chocolates had been crumbled up, their crispy shells combined with gooey Nutella filling and whole hazelnuts making for a sophisticated topping.
The 'Forest Lust' crepe (26LE) – which comes with apple slices, sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup and roasted almonds – was a far better creation, offering some genuine culinary penash. The pancake was soft and chewy, neither the crispy French style nor the thick American type, but somewhere in between, which gave plenty of substance without being over-filling. All the flavours were well balanced, with enough juicy chunks of apple infused with the sweet syrup and rich cinnamon.
For drinks we were also told that frappés and most of the milkshake flavours were out. So we ordered a chocolate milkshake and a peach smoothie. The peach smoothie was sweet and delicious, as if a peach sorbet had been blended into a smooth, cold drink. The chocolate milkshake was too heavy on the cocoa and lost its sweet side; it was also very thick, meaning a spoon was necessary to take it on.
Outside, Sugar Rush boasts having Wi-Fi, cupcakes and Häagen-Dazs ice cream: in fact, only one of these statements is true – a small tub of Häagen-Dazs ice cream can be purchased for 21LE, but there was no trace of the other two.
Sugar Rush talks the talk, but unless they actually follow through with what they promise this place can only disappoint.
With Brew & Chew satisfying the cravings of Maadi residents, and Dip n Dip spreading their fantastic desserts in New Cairo, Nasr City and 6 of October City, the sweet-toothed of Zamalek can be forgiven for feeling a little neglected – that is until now. Chocolate by name, chocolaty by nature, Joe’s Chocolate Bar on Taha Hussein Street could be the answer to every chocaholic’s dreams.
As a venue, Joe’s Chocolate Bar is divided into two floors; the top floor has nothing remarkable about it but allows smoking, while the ground floor is where the ‘chocolate is. Besides the melted chocolate-like decoration on the wall (which is installed upside down, so instead looks like chocolate waves) the calm lighting and wood walls create a relaxing and cosy ambiance to the place.
The items on the menu are limited and nothing grabbed our attention, but we opted for the Molten Chocolate Cake (47LE), Triple Chocolate Crepe (41LE) and their new special item – as the waiter was so keen to mention – Oreo Waffle (49LE).
The molten chocolate cake had a bold chocolate flavour and a very moist texture; the gooey centre had a fantastic pudding-like consistency, which shows that it was cooked to perfection and, overall, the dessert had a spot-on sweetness. On the other hand, we would have preferred that the ice cream was served separately, because the hot temperature of cake melted it quickly and made the top of the cake rather soggy.
The triple chocolate crepe was just as good, meanwhile; coming as three thin, light and fluffy triangular servings, each one was filled with a generous amount of melted milk chocolate, and drizzled with white, milk, and dark chocolate. We also asked for fruit (10LE) on the side which consists of mini cubes of kiwi, bananas, and strawberries, and it was surprisingly fresh even though it’s not strawberry season yet.
As for the Oreo waffle, we expected nothing more than a waffle with crushed Oreo on top, but, impressively, the waffle itself had an actual layer of Oreo in the middle. Despite the waffles needing a little more milk chocolate on top and being a bit chewy, they were largely soft with a slightly crispy exterior, and the flavour of the Oreo popped in every single bite.
Joe’s Chocolate Bar definitely impressed with their well-executed desserts and big flavours, but we felt that the variety on the menu is too safe and a bit limited for a dessert specialist. We’d very happily come back for the molten chocolate cake, though.